Posts Tagged ‘SHOW Magazine’

Halloween Madness in Hollywood & Ayanna Jordan’s Birthday


Despite how busy we’ve been at the studio, Fall 2010 brought about many opportunities to play. SHOW Magazine hosted their 4th Annual Halloween party in Hollywood this year. I’d been busy planning the first PhotoKamp and ModelKamp 6, so I dug up my Wolverine costume that I had put together a few years back. Nearly the entire Slickforce crew came out to roam the streets of Hollywood, which made it one of the most memorable Halloweens ever for me.


Model Ayanna Jordan also celebrated her birthday at Falcon on Sunset Blvd. in October. Once again, my wonderful team showed up to help her celebrate, as well as her good friend and fellow model Nazanin Mandi.


As we begin the holiday season, here’s wishing you and your loved ones all the happiness in the universe, and remember to live every day to the fullest!


1-10: My brother as Scarface, photographer Christian Arias as the black cat, Slickforce crew Kevin Savarese, Derek Eskridge, and David Rivera as the Jabberwockies, Ayanna Jordan as Dark Angel, model Jesikah Maximus as a hot leopard, and SHOW publisher Sean Cummings as the priest.
11-15: Ayanna Jordan’s birthday with Naz Mandi, Kevin Savarese and Derek Eskridge

Slickforce brings glam to the Amalfi Coast for SHOW Italy!


I suppose it’s every photographer’s dream to travel the world and shoot someplace with crystal waters, perfect weather, and timeless architecture. So when the publisher of SHOW approached me about putting an international shoot together for rising-star-model Laura Doré, I was all too happy to suggest shooting in Italy.


I’ve found many excuses to travel to Italy over the last few years, starting with shooting Cities of the Underworld for History Channel in early 2008. Since then I’ve been back 6 times, and have made an effort to improve my Italian with each trip. Once the magazine concept was greenlit, I went immediately into producer mode.


The Amalfi Coast is world-famous for its scenic old-world ambiance as well as it’s breathtaking views. I knew we’d have no shortage of places to shoot, so I flew out a week before the rest of the team, scouted some hot spots, and secured lighting equipment in Rome (I was intent on re-creating a full-scale Slickforce-sized shoot, but there was no way I was going to bring all of my equipment from the US). Once the locations were secured, I flew out my best-of-the-best from LA, including make-up artist Gaby Ramos, hair stylist Al Ingram, lead assistant Christian Arias, and wardrobe stylist extraordinaire Diana Chan. I also hired assistants from Italy and London, all of whom I’d worked with on previous shoots in Europe, and a local driver complete with passenger van. We took over 7 cabanas in the small coastal town of Sorrento, where we lived for 5 days.


Once the massive logistics were out of the way, I could finally concentrate on the shoot. Since I had my usual gear, most of lighting setups didn’t vary much from the work I produce at home. What I’m most proud of, however, are the setups on the beaches of Capri. Capri is a small island—and there were no docks or piers to the beaches—so we put all the gear on motor-boats, and cruised as close as we could to the coast. Then we loaded the equipment onto inflatable rafts, jumped in the ocean, and literally towed the rafts to land, generators and all. This was simultaneously the hardest day we’ve ever had and the most fun and awe-inspiring shoot I’ve ever experienced.


And check out the setups. We had lights hanging off of rocks, ringflashes levitating over the sea, and even lit from moving boats! Christian knows I insist on shooting tethered (I loathe lighting to a camera LCD), so she developed rigs for floating my Firewire and laptop cables back to land, while we all did our jobs either perched on rocks or in the water. These shots make me laugh because my awesome crew is doing the same thing they do at home, only this time they’re in bathing suits and up to their navels in water. This is that shoot that every photographer lives for—the one you will never, ever forget.


Thanks to SHOW and Laura Doré for the opportunity of a lifetime, and to Christian Arias, Daniela Guerrero, Hayden Phoenix, Steven Feralio and J.P. Monittola for these amazing behind-the-scenes pics!

Flashback: November 29, 2008 – SHOWCase #2

SHOWCase 2 - Jesikah Maximus & Jessica Burciaga

Scorchers in the desert

Production shots:

SHOWCase #2 was the 4th full magazine issue I produced in its entirety. I think I had gotten the publisher of SHOW hooked on desert shoots just like I was, so we shot the “sequel” to SHOWCase #1 within 60 days of shooting its predecessor.


For those of you who know my background as a cinematographer, it’s no surprise why I get so excited shooting on location. I mean, no photographer LOVES being inside the studio every day…it’s like letting a dog out of the house to run free. So as SHOW became more successful (which is 100% shot on seamless), I found myself pushing to shoot the special issues as far away from SlickforceStudio as possible.


I had just bought my property in the desert (which would become Ultimate Graveyard), but I hadn’t been able to put any real time into it, so I felt it wasn’t yet camera-ready. Instead, I chose Club Ed, one of my favorite desert locations as a DP. They’ve shot a billion movies here, most notably Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects,” and “Nothing to Lose” starring Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins.


One of the reasons I like shooting in the desert so much is that it forces you to be on your A-game. You’ve got no water, no power and no restaurants for miles, so you have to run a really tight production. We brought in RVs, generators, and of course I had my crack team of super-assistants making runs around the Antelope Valley all day (my assistant Cherry got a speeding ticket that day too…sorry, Cherry!) I sometimes get a lot of flack for my super-sized productions, but I’ve never been a minimalist—it’s just not my style. My inspirations have always been larger-than-life directors and photographers, like Michael Bay, James Cameron, Antoine Verglas, and Herb Ritts.


The models for SHOWCase #2 were soon-to-be-Playmate Jessica Burciaga and urban-superstar-model Jesikah Maximus. I labeled my Capture folder “Jes².” I had worked with them both on countless issues before and I knew they were both great models (J-Max and I were in Puerto Rico shooting her “SHOW: In Paradise” issue exactly one year earlier) so I already had their trust. And that’s very important, because when the models trust you, you can push them very, very far.


These girls both had crazy bodies, and when J-Max showed up with her fire-engine-red hair, I decided was going to photograph them as if I were shooting a comic-book. I had them kneel on scorching-hot gas pumps, pour buckets of water on themselves, crawl on trucks, and roll around in the dirt. But man, did this issue kill. I have to say that this is probably the first issue I’ve shot that turned out exactly like I saw it in my head. And that’s not easy for 100+ pages of content. And although the day was long (15+ hours) and everyone was beat to sh*t, it was some of the most fun I’ve ever head on set. I think it was probably in my top 3 days of 2008. It’s one of those rare moments where you stop to reflect, take a look around, and realize you’re doing exactly what you dreamed of doing when you were a kid.

Flashback: October 1, 2008 – SHOWCase #1 @ El Mirage


Production Shots:

Found these behind-the-scenes pics while going through the archives, and thought you guys might like to see.


This is from the premiere issue of SHOWCase (shot Oct 2008), featuring Vanessa Veasley and Laura Dore (then known as Sweetie Cyanide). I’ve always loved shooting in the desert, and this was actually the day I got inspired and decided to buy my own desert property, and Ultimate Graveyard was born.


This issue was a lot of fun to shoot, and I’d worked with both models many times before, so we could cut to the chase and just shoot amazing stuff. I already knew what poses worked best for both of them. These ladies endured both the heat (day) and the cold (dusk), and for anyone who thinks I just liquify my models…these production shots are COMPLETELY unretouched, so take a good look at their bodies and you’ll see just how real they are.


If I’m guilty of anything, it’s putting Vanessa in too many back-arch-orgasm-face poses, but hey, it was just really working for me. (And the white boots didn’t hurt either.)


(BTW it was hot as hell that day and I was tired of the models getting all the attention, so I decided to go shirtless too. Sue me. If you look closely, you’ll see that my stylist isn’t even wearing pants, so there.)

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